Bovine Dragon Software's curious original iPhone game Gomi has just been released into the App Store. The premise of the game is as follows:
The world has been overrun by civilization. With the expansion of mankind, the amount of preserved ecosystems is dwindling. It's up to the gomies to make the world beautiful again!
You play Gomi who is a round creature that is on a mission to save the planet.
The game is structured as a cross between Rolando and I Love Katamari. The game is controlled using the iPhone's tilt control to roll Gomi left and right. Tapping anywhere on the screen makes him jump. Gomi can jump over objects or onto other platforms which influence the direction of gravity, so you the world might turn 90 degrees or even upside down once when you jump -- overall, this actually works pretty well.
Gomi can consume objects he rolls over. This includes pretty much anything in his path, including trash, equipment, cars, buildings and even people. At the start of each level, Gomi can only consume the smallest items but as he eats more he can progressively eat larger and larger objects. This progression becomes the basis for some of the stage-specific goals that you have to achieve. Each stage asks you to accomplish a certain task. This could include eating up all the cars on the level, or eating two shopping centers. Obviously, you can't just eat a shopping center right off, so you're left exploring and consuming all the small items first.
Gomis are also customizable as you unlock special abilities. At first the only special ability you have is a super jump that is invoked when you tap on the Gomi itself. This special ability needs time to recharge, so you can't use it in rapid sequence. Other abilities are unlocked over time - the second unlockable allows Gomi to inflate to a large size to eat larger items and jump further.
The game is said to include over 140 stages across 8 unique worlds with 12 hours of play. Gomi also includes 8 mini-games (including a Match 3) that can be played with the Gomi characters. High scores for all regular stages and these mini games are syncable to a global high score server.
Since the game just came out tonight, we've only had a short amount of time with it. When first approaching the game, if you approach it like I did, you're going too feel that Gomi rolls to slowly. This is not a fast action platformer, and despite the timed trials, there's more of a methodical pace to the game. You do adjust to this slower pace, which then gives way to a certain satisfaction as you systematically consume the objects in your path. I expect it feeds the same compulsion for those gamers who enjoyed Katarmi Damacy.
To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what I thought of the game until I hit the boss level of World 1, and after I made it past that, I became eager to see what was next. From what I've seen so far, there is a cleverness to the level design and the intentionally primitive graphics contribute to the overall feel of the game. It's clear that a lot of effort went into this game.
While it's hard to give a final verdict without completing the game (I'm on World 2), it seems clear that if you are looking for a different or original game, Gomi is one to try, especially at only $1.99. More impressions will be rolling into the forum discussion thread.
App Store Link: Gomi, $1.99